Much like the Buffalo Bills, the Miami Dolphins don’t have much to play for heading into their showdown at Orchard Park on Sunday.
While the team’s goal of reaching the postseason was officially eliminated last week, there are still plenty of reasons, and people, to watch on the visitors’ sideline this week.
Who are the five most intriguing Dolphins of the week?
QB Ryan Tannehill
After seven seasons, Tannehill’s tenure in South Beach appears to be coming to a close. He has teased the Dolphin fanbase with flashes of brilliance and the following week baffled them with bone-headed mistakes or inaccuracy.
In his defense, his and the Dolphins’ best season was nipped in the bud when he tore his ACL in what ended up being a playoff campaign. That injury ultimately cost Tannehill his 2017 season and led to the Jay Cutler experiment.
In a league desperate for quality quarterbacks, Tannehill will undoubtedly have his suitors (Jacksonville perhaps?). Regardless, Sunday will most likely be his last time visiting Orchard Park with the Dolphin logo on his helmet.
HC Adam Gase
Yet another possible swan song. Along with Tannehill, Gase has come under fire recently and another campaign with no postseason may be the death blow for Gase as the head man for Miami.
Gase had a free pass in 2017 with the quarterback issues, but this year the pressure was on. With that in mind, will Gase call this game like a man with nothing to lose and empty out the playbook? Will he sit on the bench during the game? All of that will make the sideline camera entertaining Sunday.
RB Kenyan Drake
Now that the farewells are done, Drake is a must-watch for the strategic purposes of the game. The Bills got gouged last week against the New England Patriots thanks in large part to the speed of those carrying the ball.
Drake has speed to spare. Through screen passes, tosses, stretches or other gadgetry, getting Drake in space will be the Dolphins’ goal. If the Bills continue to get beat to the edge like they did against New England, Drake will be in for a huge day.
LB Kiko Alonso
There are plenty of Bills fans who still hold a soft spot for Alonso. That fact alone would be enough to include him on this list. What is more intriguing will be how he rebounds from an embarrassing performance the last time these two squared off.
In the first meeting, Allen ran wild and on a couple of occasions made Alonso look foolish. Those who love Alonso know that didn’t sit well with the former Oregon product, so he will likely focus in on not allowing Allen to run circles around him again.
The Bills may, and should, use that against him with some RPOs that suck up Alonso and open up space for the passing game.
DE Robert Quinn
As our own Skarekrow broke down earlier this week, Quinn should be watched closely on Sunday. His match-up against Dion Dawkins may determine the outcome of the game. Dawkins’s play has slipped in his second season and although Quinn isn’t what he once was, he still has speed.
For Allen to have success through the air, Dawkins will have to neutralize Quinn’s speed and force him to go to options B and C when rushing the passer.